January 28, 2020
Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second Samuel 6:12-19
Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the LORD
with abandon, as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark
of the LORD with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
David dances before the ark of God “with abandon,” second Samuel says, and he shouts with joy, with all the others, and I think that’s an image of who we should be and of how we know that God is with us: when we feel joy, when we abandon ourselves to him, when we dance and play and sing.
With abandon: when we’re not self-conscious, when we’re not doubting ourselves, when we trust that what makes us most deeply happy is what makes God most deeply happy.
When we let go of the outcome. When we just are.
“We only offend God when we do something contrary to our own good,” St. Thomas Aquinas said, the great Doctor of the Church, whose feast day is today.
Contrary to what is right and healthy and true. Contrary to our true self. Contrary to our true heart’s desires.
In The Paradiso Dante encounters St. Thomas in the Sphere of the Sun, dancing with the other Doctors of the Church in a great circle of light. Around and around. Dancing and singing.
And when they stop, Dante says, in a wonderful image,
they stood like dancers still caught in the pleasure
of the last round, who pause in place and listen
till they have caught the beat of the new measure. Paradiso X.78-80
Whatever makes us feel the joy that David feels, whatever makes us feel the joy that St. Thomas feels, that is Christ in us. That is how God is calling us.
What are we supposed to do with our lives? Whatever makes us dance.